Wednesday 05 June 2013 by John Hyde
Victims of crime, including bereaved family members, will have the right to ask prosecutors to look again at a case following a decision not to charge or to discontinue proceedings.
The government will today set out plans to allow appeals against decisions taken by the Crown Prosecution Service about charging an individual. It will not apply to decisions taken by the police.
The 'victims' right to review' was prompted by a 2007 sexual assault case in which the CPS decided not to bring charges. The decision was reversed by the Court of Appeal which concluded that 'as a decision not to prosecute is in reality a final decision for a victim, there must be a right to seek a review of such a decision'.
The option was previously denied to victims and their families to remove uncertainty hanging over the suspect and establish confidence in the prosecution service.
Director of public prosecutions Keir Starmer will put the plans out to consultation today. He said it was one of the most significant victim policies ever made by the CPS.
'The criminal justice system historically treated victims as bystanders and accordingly gave them little say in their cases,' he said. 'This approach was intended to inspire confidence, but in reality it had the opposite effect.'